Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Vicki Delany

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Ten Questions with Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany's latest book, Gold Fever (RendezVous Crime), is the sequel to the first book in her Klondike Gold Rush series, Gold Digger (RendezVous Crime). She talks to Open Book about her writing, reading and research.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book, Gold Fever.

Vicki Delany:

Gold Fever is the second book in the Klondike Gold Rush series, following Gold Digger. The book is a mystery novel, intended to be light hearted, sort of a mad-cap romp through the streets of Dawson in the wild days of the Klondike Gold Rush. The main characters are Fiona MacGillivray, woman with a mysterious past, owner of the Savoy Saloon and Dance Hall, her 12-year-old son Angus and Constable Richard Sterling of the NWMP. As well as an assortment of headstrong dancers, croupiers, gamblers, madams without hearts of gold, bar hangers-on, cheechakos and sourdoughs, and businessmen both respectable and shady. Gold Fever and Gold Digger are published by RendezVous Crime of Toronto.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

VD:

The book is a mystery novel, so the primary audience would be mystery lovers. But I also hope it will appeal to history fans, particularly lovers of Canadian history. I have kept the historical setting as accurate and detailed as I could make it, without overwhelming the story. It’s intended to be a light fun read, so should be popular to anyone wanting that sort of thing, mystery or not.

OBT:

How did you research your book?

VD:

I read a lot. The most important books for my research were Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush 1896-1899 by Pierre Berton and, also by Berton, The Klondike Quest: A Photographic Essay 1897 – 1899. I was fortunate that there are many excellent books about the era available and lots of wonderful photographs. I went to Dawson City and Whitehorse and spent time in the museums and libraries.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

VD:

My ideal writing environment is just what I have. I live in the country in Prince Edward County, Ontario. In the summer I love to take my laptop out onto the deck and work there. The only problem with the setting is that the wood burning stove is in the den, so I am sometimes driven out of my own office by the heat.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

VD:

Whiteout, a standalone novel of suspense set in Northern Ontario, was published in 2001 by a very small Canadian publisher called LTDBooks. Unfortunately they went out of business not long after, but I was lucky enough to place my following book, Scare the Light Away, with the US publisher Poisoned Pen Press.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

VD:

What a question! As we’re talking about Berton’s books about the Klondike, I’d recommend Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush 1896-1899 for an introduction in Canadian history. The Klondike contributed a lot to our Canadian mythology, and I think it provides some understanding of Canada as a nation.

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood for the way Atwood uses the Canadian wilderness to emphasize difficulties in human relationships

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart. History again and a fabulous book.

I’d also include in the basket a copy of Cool Canadian Crime from the Crime Writers of Canada, so the visitor or new Canadian can see for themselves what wonderful stories we have to tell.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

VD:

I am fortunate to be a judge for the Arthur Ellis Awards (for Canadian crime writing) and have just finished a pile of wonderful books for that. I can’t mention which ones I liked best, readers will have to wait for the award nominations next month. I took a break from fiction to read What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

VD:

Be persistent.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

VD:

Be persistent. This is a tough business, and getting tougher. Make your manuscript as good as it can be and then send it out. You’ll get rejections, lots of them, but just keep sending it out. And while you’re waiting to hear from agents and editors, write another book.

OBT:

What is your next project?

VD:

I am working on the fifth book in my other series, the Constable Molly Smith series, which is a traditional police procedural set in the BC Interior. The fourth is titled Negative Image and will be released in November.


Vicki Delany began her writing career as a Sunday writer. She was the mother of three daughters and a full-time computer programmer. As a young woman, she lived for eleven years in South Africa, but eventually returned to Canada to raise her family, and specifically to Ontario, where she was raised.

As her daughters eventually flew the coop, and she had more time to write, she produced two novels of suspense, Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory, published to critical acclaim by Poisoned Pen Press of Scottsdale, Arizona.

After Vicki took early retirement from her job as a systems analyst, In the Shadow of the Glacier, Valley of the Lost and Winter of Secrets were also published by Poisoned Pen Press. Although Vicki majored in modern history at university, her interest lies more in the lives of ordinary people. The idea for her Klondike Gold Rush mysteries was born during a canoe trip when she regaled her tripmates with stories of the incredible hardships people experienced at that time. In 2009, Gold Digger: A Klondike Mystery was published by Rendezvous Crime. Gold Fever is the second book in the series.

After living for many years in Oakville, Ontario, then selling her house and travelling around North America for a year, Vicki has now settled in bucolic, rural Prince Edward County, in southern Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch and can write whenever she feels like it.

For more information about Gold Fever please visit the RendezVous Crime website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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